Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Zucchini & Mushrooms
Family Friendly

Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli

with Zucchini & Mushrooms

40 MIN
+$1.95/serving 4 Servings
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    From the Test Kitchen

    To create this satisfying pasta bake, you’ll mix sautéed veggies with tender bites of fresh cavatelli pasta, two kinds of melty cheese, and a dollop of herbaceous basil pesto. A layer of crispy breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of tangy parmesan cheese add more layers of delicious flavor and texture to this crowd-pleasing dish.
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    • Nutrition
      PER SERVING
    • Calories
      840 Cals (est.)
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    ingredients
    Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Zucchini & Mushrooms
    Title
    • 10 oz Hot Italian Pork Sausage
    • 1 lb Fresh Cavatelli Pasta (Previously Frozen)
    • ½ lb Mushrooms
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • 2 Zucchini
    • ⅓ cup Basil Pesto
    • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    • ¼ cup Cream
    • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
    • 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
    • 2 oz Fontina Cheese
    • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
    time-saving
    tips & techniques
    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    Cook the pasta
    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly.

    Cook the sausage
    3 Cook the sausage

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sausage. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a bowl.

    Brown the mushrooms
    4 Brown the mushrooms

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced mushrooms in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to a large baking dish. Wipe out the pan. 

    Cook the zucchini & assemble the casserole
    5 Cook the zucchini & assemble the casserole

    In the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened. Add the cream. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to the baking dish. Add the cooked pasta, cooked sausagediced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto; season with salt and pepper. Carefully stir to combine and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
    6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the parmesan. Enjoy!

    Tips from Home Chefs

    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly.

    Cook the pasta
    Cook the sausage
    3 Cook the sausage

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sausage. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a bowl.

    4 Brown the mushrooms

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced mushrooms in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to a large baking dish. Wipe out the pan. 

    Brown the mushrooms
    Cook the zucchini & assemble the casserole
    5 Cook the zucchini & assemble the casserole

    In the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened. Add the cream. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to the baking dish. Add the cooked pasta, cooked sausagediced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto; season with salt and pepper. Carefully stir to combine and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the parmesan. Enjoy!

    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
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